I live with the mental health diagnoses of Bipolar 1 and PTSD. Neither of these are new, but that doesn’t make them easy to live with. At one point, I was also diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. I was diagnosed Bipolar at 12 years old and PTSD many years later. Now, at 31 years old, I have learned some tricks to make life easier, but nothing I do will ever get rid of my disorders. Throughout the years, I have had my ups and downs, manic, mixed, or depressed; there has been very little time where any doctor would be considered me to be in remission.
There are a few things that have helped me over the years:
- I am always compliant with my medications and treatments. It’s not easy, and I do complain about it, but I know how important it is to stay on my medication as prescribed by my doctor.
- I have the support of my entire family. Everyone supports me and does their best to understand what I’m going through. I have never felt judged from any family member, and I know how lucky I am to have that.
- I always tell on myself to my family and doctors. When I start to experience manic symptoms, I like to keep them to myself. It’s a nice change of pace from the depression. However, I know how bad it can get and how quickly it can get there, so I tell my doctors and support team what’s happening.
- I follow the instructions from my doctors. When I’m told to change medications, I do so. I am aware that the doctors know more than I do. Sometimes I ask for time so I can do research (I LOVE research), I like to know what I’m getting myself into.
- When doing research on medications and treatments, I look at all sources of information. I research online, I talk to my family, I ask my pharmacist, and I attempt to make an educated decision, if necessary.
These things are a huge part of what’s kept me alive. I know I’m not stable, and I haven’t been for quite a while, but I’ve had times in my life that were worse than they are now. Improvement is all I can hope for.
At this time, I’m on a lot of medication. I take seven medications daily, as well as two that I take as needed. These are just my psychiatric medication. For some reason, I have several physical health problems that have been either medicated or treated with surgery. I have also been doing ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) for just over a year, and I am working to decide on the next form of treatment. Every medication I take helps in some form. I know it’s a lot, it is way more than most people take, but it’s what works for me. I have never been a person who only takes one or two psychiatric medications. My case is complex, but my doctor is amazing and I trust him completely.
For months I’ve been dealing with depression and struggling with suicidal ideations. All I want is to have a few moments where the thoughts of suicide are not in my mind. Just because I think about it, doesn’t mean I’m going to do it. I have reasons not to, and for me they are my husband and my mother. About a week or two ago, my sleep started to decline. I don’t get more than 4 or 5 hours a night, if I’m lucky, but I wake up continuously. Now, I can see several signs of mania, and so can my psychiatrist. It feels more like a mixed state. I have some moments where my mind crashes. For example, having a simple conversation with my mother today was almost impossible, but that only lasted a few hours.
My anxiety and panic attacks are increasing. They have always happened daily for many years, but now they are happening multiple times a day. They even happen when I can’t find a reason (the reason is probably my mind that keeps running). I used to be able to talk myself down from my anxiety attacks, but not lately. I feel like I’m losing my mind (I know that sounds odd coming from someone who struggles with mental illness).
Right now, I’m simply trying to hang on. Life is overwhelming, and it doesn’t seem to be getting much better. I recognize changes in my mental health and I honestly report them to my doctors. I can’t think of any other people in my life that actually do that. I’m proactive; maybe there is some kind of chance that I’ll get better, but I don’t like getting my hopes up. For the moment, I am taking advantage of the energy I have from my new mixed state, and I’m getting a lot of things done that would normally be close to impossible.
I wonder if one day I will be able to live my life without purely trying to “hang on”. I’ve had times in my life before that were fabulous. I had a full-time job, I got promoted, and I had an active social life. Now, I jump at every noise I hear, and usually they aren’t even real. Will I get my life back? Or has Bipolar claimed it as its own? I’m not saying that my life is bad. It’s difficult and often more than I can handle, but I do know how lucky I am for someone in my position. I’m extremely grateful for my supportive family and my husband than encourages me see friends and do things for myself.
It’s time now to try to see if I can sleep. My mind is still racing. I hope I can shut it down. Again, I don’t get my hopes up, but I do try. Off I go…